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Beceem's BCS500 4G modem splices WiMAX and LTE into one chip, sampling later this year

Vlad Savov

When we were told market research pointed to WiMAX and LTE standards for 4G connectivity coexisting, we didn't expect they'd do it quite so closely. Beceem, the maker of the WiMAX chips inside "every device in Clearwire's network," is working on a 4G modem that can handle both WiMAX and LTE, with the added extra of being able to move seamlessly between the two networks in order to find the best signal possible. The mashup of the two standards makes sense in light of all the equivocation from Clearwire and Sprint on the subject of which one they'd prefer, and would be a more than welcome simplification of our collective 4G future. Anyhow, the latest development is that Beceem and Motorola are working to pair the BCS500 to the latter's WiMAX 4G infrastructure, with the first dual-mode chips set to start sampling "later this year" and hit mass production in early 2011.

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